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“And then I met a British businessman. He’s invested a lot to the Hong Kong industry, such as real estate, hotel, restaurant, racetrack, shopping center, and other large businesses you can think of. I also heard he’s a British aristocrat.”
Yu Heng’s mother, Yang Mei Ling was recently invited to attend a gathering in Hong Kong and decided to stay a few months on holiday. She had just returned to Taiwan and called him to have afternoon tea.
“Oh, really ah?” Yu Heng sipped some coffee.
“Oh? Is listening to an old woman boring? I say, you’ve been drinking coffee and haven’t even said but a few words to me.” Yang Mei Ling sipped her black tea.
“No matter, it seems you’ve been having a lot of fun lately, and I wanted to hear what happened.”
“Well, it really was fun. I meet a lot of new friends and made some worthwhile contacts like the British businessman. He left his business card and said if we ever want to enter the Hong Kong market, he will help us out.”
Yang Mei Ling gave the card to Yu Heng. “When you’re free, give him a call or write him an e-mail in greeting. If you say you’re my son, he’ll know.”
“Okay Mom, so tell me more about Hong Kong. As for the business thing, I’ll deal with it.” Yu Heng accepted the card.
“Son.” Yang Mei Ling glanced at her son, “Every time I discuss business, you will… Well, you don’t like it do you? Never mind, I will discuss something else than. When I was in Hong Kong, I met with the International Public Interest Group’s CEO. He’s expressed his desire for support. If you’re interested, we can consider sponsoring them. In this way, we can garner publicity for the hotel, the orphanage, you don’t know…”
Yang Mei Ling feels troubled about Yu Heng going to the orphanage. It feels somewhat beneath his standing.
“Mom, I’ve said before, I go to the orphanage because I want to make a difference in the children’s lives, and not just to donate money. Otherwise, dealing with business matters all day is suffocating.”
“It’s because of this, I don’t like you going there. Being exposed to those things, it will only make you soft…” Yang Mei Ling paused.
In fact, it’s what she wanted to discuss with Yu Heng today. She knows he doesn’t want to hear it, but for his sake she has to say it.
Zhang said you’ve been having problems with the B & B acquisition, and… I also heard that you’ve had an altercation with the Vice President of our bank. Is that right?” Yang Mei Ling asked with great care. She heard about it, but couldn’t believe it.
“Ah.” Yu Heng leaned back in the chair, resting his two elbows on the armrest, looking tired.
Zhang is Yang Mei Ling’s private secretary. During her stay in Hong Kong, Zhang was her eyes and ears in Taiwan. Yu Heng was prepared for this, but he didn’t expect it so soon.
“Is what Zhang said true? Did you offend the Vice President?” His silence, made Yang Mei Ling tense up.
“Well, he was caught sexually harassing an employee – if you call that an offense, then yes, I really offended him.” Yu Heng spread his hands, freely admitting.
“Sexual harassment? Zhang said he just touched a female employee. It’s not so serious, right? How can you offend him over a trivial matter?!”
“Trivial matter?” Yu Heng brows twisted incredulously, “Mom, you’re also woman. How can you say that? You should put yourself in the employee’s position. Don’t you know what a scumbag he is? If I let him off today, he’ll think it’s okay to come to our hotel and harass our employees again. Who’ll protect our staff’s safety?”
“But that kind of problem can be dealt with in a private setting, not necessarily on the spot for him to lose face. Our relationship with him is now rocky. What should we do if he decides to withdraw his support?”
“You don’t have to worry about that. He’s not the only one that works for the bank. Their General Manager is at least sensible. Offending the Vice President, at most things will be a little difficult for us, but the actual impact is not huge. I’ve wanted to meet with them for a while now. This incident, may be good for us.”
“Really?” Her son is really capable, but past experiences in life, have left her with many insecurities.
“Really, believe me.” Yu Heng reassured her.
“Alright. So how is the B & B acquisition going?” Done with one, on with another.
“Acquisition?” Yu Heng’s eyes flashed. In the face of this problem, he decided to play the fool. “The acquisition has been going smoothly, why?”
“I heard there was a key spot you skipped over and didn’t attain. So now the entire design plan is in disarray. That’s not a problem?”
“Oh, you mean that thing ah. It wasn’t my intention not to attain. The location was just too remote, and the original design was too messy. If we were to attain it, the reconstruction will cost a lot of money. Therefore, it’s not cost-effective.” Yu Heng waved his hand, evading the problem.
“Oh really? It’s not because the B & B is the “Lan Kwai Fong”?” Yang Mei Ling was no pushover, she wasn’t easily fooled by her son.
Yu Heng’s silence, in that moment, gave him away.
Since he was exposed, he had no good excuses.
“Oh.” Yang Mei Ling sighed. From his reaction, she knew she’d been right. “Yu Heng, Mom knows you’re very sentimental, but this is business. The acquisition is part of our large development. Because of the B & B, our whole plan has been delayed which will cause serious financial loss to the company…”
“Lan Kwai Fong is a great B & B. It shouldn’t be linked together with our cold company.” Yu Heng interrupted Yang Mei Ling’s statement.
“Cold company? Is that how you see our hotel?”
“Am I wrong? We treat our guests with professional curtesy, going above and beyond. We also handle people like the Vice President with a blind eye. But to our employees, we are scared to protect them against people like the Vice President. Is that not cold enough?” Yu Heng shrugged.
“We aren’t on the same level as the B & B. In order to run a successful five star hotel chain, this is what we have to do!”
“Yes, I understand and in the last few years I’ve been doing business according to your wishes. But I won’t budge on the B & B.”
“Yu Heng, you’re too sentimental. This is about business, not gratitude.”
“What are you talking about? What does this have to do with gratitude? Mom, I ask you, do you know why Fu Hua is a success today?”
“It goes without saying doesn’t it? Of course, it’s because of your hard work.”
“No, this is because the Lan Kwai Fong saved us, or we both would have died along with Dad. Without it, we could’ve never survived.” Yu Heng emphasized every word in the sentence.
Mother and son were reluctant to think of the past, now the memories are slowly coming to mind.
“I…” Yang Mei Ling was rendered speechless.
Yu Heng’s Dad was from is his grandfather’s first wife, and his uncle was from his grandfather’s mistress, born illegitimately. Before his grandfather passed away, he gave everything to his Dad. This lead to resentment and jealously from his uncle.
One night, Yu Heng and his Mom were at home. They suddenly received news of his Dad’s heart attack. They rushed to the hospital but couldn’t understand why they weren’t allowed to see his Dad.
Just as they entered the hospital, they were informed his Dad had passed away. They hadn’t even processed the news yet when they were informed his uncle would inherit the position of General Manager. All of his Dad’s businesses would be transferred to his uncle.
When the autopsy report was released, it said that his Dad’s heart attack was severe. Why didn’t his Dad have his medication when he always carried it with him? Some people thought it was his Uncle’s doing, but because there were no clear evidence, and due to the impact on the company, the matter was suppressed.
But if the rumors were true, then he and his Mom were in a dangerous position. He had a legitimate claim to the inheritance, which made him a threat to his Uncle. Which means he was bound to become his Uncle’s next target.
His Dad’s then personal assistant advised them to leave Taipei to lay low and wait until his Uncle stabilized the company and then safely come back.
Suddenly having nowhere to go, they headed to Yilan in the country. Far enough away from the city.
“Mom, remember the bottle of sleeping pills you brought along at that time?”
“You…” Yang Mei Ling was frightened. She didn’t think her then ten year old son had noticed that.
She had lost her husband overnight, and caught in a hopeless abyss. Although she followed the advice and took her son to the country, but her heart was in an upheaval, and she contemplated suicide.
“I remember before going to bed every night, you would take out the sleeping pills and look at it a long time before finally putting it back in the bag. At that time, the innkeeper would chat with us every day, take me out to play, and insist we have dinner with them every night.”
One night, the innkeeper talked about his struggles as a youth. The one sentence that struck me the most was when he said, “If I want the opportunity for a comeback, then I must keep my life”. Before going to sleep that night, I saw you crying and tossed out the bottle of sleeping pills.”
Yu Heng paused before saying, “Mom, if at that time, that Uncle didn’t say that sentence to you, then maybe you would’ve taken those pills, right?”
His Mom’s weird behavior at that time echoed in his mind. Years later he finally understood what happened.
“Well…” Yang Mei Ling sighed heavily.
Yang Mei Ling remained silent, but also didn’t deny the situation.
No matter how many years have passed, that period still weighed heavily on her heart.
“Lan Kwai Fong gave us something invaluable that Fu Hua never could. It’s the reason why I don’t want to acquire Lan Kwai Fong. If it’s possible, maybe they can help other guests regain their energy for another year.”
“Ah, so because of this thing, you’re willing to hurt the business? Although your Uncle was sent to a less important position, his hostility is increasing towards us. If you’re not careful, if something goes wrong, he’ll force you to step aside.”
They were later able to regain Fu Hua because of Yu Heng’s efforts with the help of his Dad’s loyal contacts.
But as long as his Uncle is still in the company, their status is still shaky.
“Mom, I know you’re insecure, afraid one day we’ll lose everything again, so I’ve been working very hard ah. As you can see, there hasn’t been a General Manager like me that’s so dedicated. I’ve only been home twice in the last month!” Yu Heng jokingly said, trying to lighten the atmosphere.
“This…” Once again, Yang Mei Ling is speechless.
Looking into her son’s eyes, she knew he was trying to reassure her, but sometimes she couldn’t help worrying.
“No matter what decisions I make, the company takes priority. I won’t make rash decisions, so believe in me. Since I took over, hasn’t the business been really good?” Yang Mei Ling reluctantly agreed.
“Oh, alright.” Since her son took over as General Manager, she’s looked after him, but now it seems he’s grown wings, and so it’s time to let go.
“The important thing is for you to enjoy life. Let me take care of you. Don’t worry about me and the company. Do something you love, live the life you want.” He’s works hard to make his Mom happy, but if she never stops worrying, then what’s the point of him working so hard?
“I should enjoy life, right?” Yang Mei Ling secretly eyes him, “Well then, if you don’t want me to worry about the company, then I won’t. But you have to promise me one thing.”
“What is it?” As long as she doesn’t worry about this or that all day long, he can promise her anything.
“Go on a blind date.” Yang Mei Ling was resolute and decisive.
“Mom, why suddenly mention this? We were just talking about the company a moment ago. How did it jump to a blind date?”
“Yes ah! Don’t you want me to live a long life? I told you, my dream is to have grandchildren to hold ah. Because you are too busy with your career, I don’t have any grandchildren to hold. If you want me to stop bothering you about the company, then give me grandchildren!”
“This…” The hairs on his arms were beginning to stand up.
His mother was the biggest headache when it comes conditions. Why didn’t he see this coming?
But should he agree?
Yu Heng had hoped to persuade her not to interfere with his decision-making. Now that she’s finally agreed, she throws him a curve ball at the last moment. Will all his efforts be in vain?
“Okay, I promise you.” Yu Heng bit down and compromised.
It seems there is no such thing as a free lunch. In order to get the benefits, you still have to pay the price.
“Good, then I’ll arrange one in the near future. Recently, I know many Moms and their daughters are all pretty. They are well educated, but focus on their personality, especially the ones with a gentle disposition. A girl like that will make a good daughter-in-law.”
Hearing Yu Heng willing to compromise on the blind dates, Yang Mei Ling was delighted.
Today, she had intended to discuss business with him, but instead got him to compromise on the blind dates. It was a blessing in disguise.
Seeing his Mom so happy like a child, he couldn’t help reluctantly smiling.
He hadn’t expected her to be so happy. Maybe he should quit the General Manager position and permanently go on blind dates.
Not long afterwards, Yu Heng came to realize, this idea was really too ignorant.
Going on a blind date was more painful than he could’ve imagined!
“Really? You’ve been to Milan?” The young woman seated across him gave him the perfunctory smile.
“Well, yes.” Yu Heng’s mouth couldn’t help twitching.
God, did this woman think she was interviewing for a beauty pageant? From when he met her till now, she has maintained that doll-like perfunctory smile. He couldn’t help but mock himself.
“I really like Milan ah. I travel there about five times a year. Which store do you like best?”
Yu Heng was dumbfounded, “Uh… I don’t go there to shop. I go there for work.”
“Really? You go there to work ah?” The woman exclaimed, as if the idea of work just occurred to her.
Yu Heng sighed deeply.
Didn’t he just say he traveled to Milan for business? This woman cares only for shopping! How is he supposed to talk to her?
After suffering through an uncomfortable meal, Yu Heng quickly made for the exit.
“Yu Heng, when you are free, remember to call me.” Before parting, the woman tried to weasel another date.
“Umm, rest assured, I’ll get back to you…” Not!
In the car, he quickly drove away.
Who introduced these women to his Mom? It’s really too much.
Back at the hotel, Yu Heng laid in bed, resting.
He’d been working for three days straight, the fatigue finally hitting him.
“Strange, why does it seem like I has no spirit lately…” Yu Heng stared at the ceiling, thinking to himself.
Then suddenly, a figure of a woman flashed in his mind.
Yu Qiao Xuan?
Yu Heng unconsciously smiles.
Yu Heng had been busy placating his Mom lately. In addition, attending these annoying blind dates. He was staying away from the hotel more frequently, so there were less opportunities to see Yu Qiao Xuan.
“It’s been several days since I’ve seen her. Let’s see what she’s up to.” Suddenly he was full of spirit. With restored energy he sprang out of bed.
He took the elevator downstairs to the kitchen, looking among the staff for the shadow of Yu Qiao Xuan.
“Eh? General Manager, how come you’re down here? What’s wrong, what do you need?” Xu Bai Ren spotted Yu Heng and asked in concern.
“Ah, nothing. Oh yes, is Yu Qiao Xuan not working today?” He had been looking for a long time but haven’t spotted her.
“Yu Qiao Xuan? Qiao Xuan left last week.” Yu Heng was surprised to hear this.
“Yes, after last Thursday, she suddenly quit. General Manager, do you know what happened?” Xu Bai Ren asked anxiously.
He remembered when Qiao Xuan entered the hotel. Because she was unaware of the General Manager, she unintentionally offended him. The General Manager was not very happy, but now he’s asking about her after her resignation. Did she get into trouble and is now running?
“Oh, nothing. Did she say why she left?” With the sudden news, Yu Heng was a little dazed.
“Well, no.” He was thinking the General Manager could tell him why she left?
“Oh well, I’ll let you get back to work!” Yu Heng patted him on the shoulder and left the kitchen.
After leaving the kitchen, Yu Heng’s mind was in a state of chaos.
Yu Qiao Xuan quit? Such a big thing, why didn’t she discuss it with him?
Because she found a new job? Was she unhappy at Fu Hua?
This shouldn’t be it. The last time he saw her, she was laughing and chatting with him, she even wrote him a note as a reminder. The note, he even kept it!
“This isn’t right!” Back in his room, Yu Heng kicked the drawers hard, sulking. That Yu Qiao Xuan didn’t consider other people’s feeling, just suddenly leaving like that. He wasn’t happy about that.
Was he not someone important to her?
Yu Heng sat down in the chair, dejectedly rubbing his face. He still couldn’t erase the strong sense of loss from his mind.
She really just left? Disappearing from his life, never to appear again?
Yu Heng stared blankly for a while, then slowly came back to life.
He asked himself why her leaving matter so much to him? Why was he so concerned about her?
Yu Heng suddenly saw the little toy he always carried, and the little post-it note Qiao Xuan wrote him.
The little toy was a gift from the Uncle at the B & B. The original owner was the Uncle’s daughter.
In Yu Heng’s memory, the Uncle and his daughter were hospitable people. He didn’t know what her Dad told her while he was staying there, but almost every day she will play with him. Together they would run everywhere in the near field, sharing her toys.
After the upheaval in his life, meeting the Uncle and his daughter was a blessing. If it weren’t for them, he would’ve lost his childhood innocence a long time ago.
When he was depressed and reluctant to leave the B & B, the Uncle asked whether he wanted anything, he would give it to him.
At that time, he couldn’t really ask for the Uncle’s daughter, so he asked for this toy instead.
To Yu Heng, the toy represented a wonderful time in his life. For many years, he took it everywhere with him as a reminder. It had become an important treasure.
But after receiving the note from Qiao Xuan, he didn’t hesitate to put the toy aside. What does that mean? Has Yu Qiao Xuan become equally as important as his most cherished treasure?
If so, can he really watch her disappear from his life?
Yu Heng suddenly picked up the phone on the table, dialing the HR department.
“Hello, Sister Li? I am Yu Heng, I want check on a former employee’s data…” Yu Heng picked up a pen and paper and wrote her address and phone number.
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